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Los Alcazares

The municipality of Los Alcázares, located in the south-east of the Murcia Region on the shores of the Mar Menor, boasts seven kilometres of fine sandy beaches, linked together via a paved promenade which runs from the Playa de La Concha close to the historic hydroplane air base at one end to the Playa Las Salinas in the adjoining district of Los Narejos which backs onto Santiago de la Ribera and San Javier airport. There are seven individual beaches connected by the promenade, which is very popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists alike, and logically, all along the paseo are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants, as well as shade, seating and children's play areas. All of the beaches are groomed sand, varying in width but with several things in common: paseo and shaded seating behind them, full range of services, gently sloping shallow shorelines and safe bathing areas, as well as easy access and facilities for disabled bathers. In the summer all are medium-high occupancy, and are clean and well-maintained. The population of around 17,000 in Los Alcázares increases to as many as 100,000 during the summer months, so the beaches are busy during peak months and are fully serviced with lifeguard cover, medical cover, beach bars, footwashes, wooden walkways, disabled bathing chairs, bins and toilets. Parking can be difficult during the summer as urban streets run right down to the beach and there are few parking spaces when the town is busy, however it is possible to park in the adjoining streets back from the beach and there is underground parking close to the town hall. Those driving to Los Alcázares are advised to park at either end where there is more parking, ie Playa Salinas and Playa de la Concha.
All of the Los Alcázares beaches are Mar Menor beaches, enclosed within the protective circle of what is, essentially, Europe's largest saltwater lake, although it's often difficult to think of this as a lake as it is fed by the Mediterranean, and is on the Mediterranean coastline.

The Mar Menor is totally unique, its geographical peculiarities creating some of the best conditions in Spain for those learning watersports, particularly windsurfing and sailing. Murcia is the warmest mainland region in Spain, and has an average temperature of 18 degrees, which makes it perfect for year-round watersports activity. The water on the Mar Menor is not tidal and has no currents or waves, so is perfect for beginners.. It has shallow fringes, which slope gently, and is only 7 metres deep in the centre, so the water temperature is warmer than that of the Mediterranean, particularly around the edges where it is possible to wade out 50 metres from the shore and still only be waist deep, creating perfect conditions for bathers, but also ideal training shallows for all types of watersports.
The Mar Menor covers a surface area of nearly 170 square kilometres, with 70 kilometres of internal coastline, separated from the Mediterranean by a 22km long strip of land, yet is also connected to the Mediterranean via a canal channel, so sailing boats can sail between the Mar Menor and Mediterranean. Added to this is an afternoon thermal wind, which offers more advanced sailing conditions for experienced sailors, and prevailing winds which blow from one corner to another, creating excellent runs for windsurfers, and long shallows with winds generally blowing in the right direction for kitesurfers, all of which makes it one of the most important centres for watersports training in Spain. Los Alcázares is home to the CAR Infanta Cristina which is used by international professionals for winter training, including the British Olympic team, and some of the activities very popular in the area include canoeing, kitesurfing, windsurfing and sailing to name but a few.